>> Yesterday, we spent the morning with Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik as he brought us up to speed about the commendable work he has done for improving the morale and lives of his police force. This passion involves a 360-degree holistic approach to up-gradation and reform. The last time we’d met the affable commissioner, he had shown us the cheerful newsletter for the service that he’d personally introduced. “We have almost 45,000 people working in the police and a newsletter helps encourage a community spirit,” he said. Also, he had taken us to the new police canteen Flavours that had replaced the tired old run-down establishment of yore. With cheerful modern furniture, bright signage, air-conditioned and clean interiors and an open kitchen it could give any commercial restaurant a run for its money. No wonder that the officers we saw around us looked happy.
This time there was much more to exult in: a placement centre at Worli run by a reputed bank and professional HR people from credible companies to assist and support the kids of officers get jobs. A canteen store on the lines of Army canteens where officers and their families could buy provisions at subsidised rates in clean modern air-conditioned comfort. A reading room where officers’ children could study undisturbed for their exams and Patnaik’s jewel in the crown: a 35-bed fully air conditioned hospice near the Tata Memorial Hospital for policemen and the families afflicted with cancer to be inaugurated at the end of the month.
Named Hari Om Hospice after Akshay Kumar’s father who died of the disease, we hear the actor has donated over Rs 1.5 crore towards making the facility world class. Throughout our meeting, Patnaik was keen to play down his achievements. “I do not want leverage or accolades for this,” he kept saying. “Good work ought to be done quietly and without fanfare.” We agree. But we also believe good people ought to be recognised and supported in their endeavours. In a city where so much goes wrong, it’s so heartwarming to come across progress and improvement.
The league of extraordinary women
>> On Tuesday, we met some of the brightest and most inspiring women and a very inspiring man when we attended the Estée Lauder Companies Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign in association with Women’s Cancer Initiative — Tata Memorial Hospital in the company of Dr Rajendra Badwe, it’s Director and two cancer survivors Mona Gandhi and Anisha Oberoi who shared their astonishing and edifying journeys with us. Gandhi, a fellow journalist who is still undergoing treatment, narrated her tryst with cancer with admirable candour.
“At the end of the day,” she said, “It’s your body. You are responsible for it.” Anisha Oberoi, whose plans for studying with INSEAD were interrupted after her cancer was detected, shared her incredible experience. “I became completely hands-on with the disease,” she said. “Researching, networking, reaching out to people for new treatments and records — until it appeared like I’d got my MBBS in Oncology!” (She graduated from INSEAD with honors recently!) Dr Badwe, recognised as an authority on the subject of cancer the world over shared some of his insights into the scourge of breast cancer and its treatment.
As inspiring were the examples of Deveika Bhojwani and the late Evelyn Lauder who have worked tirelessly to bring awareness and succor to those detected with the disease.
>> It’s hats in the air time when Dinaz Stafford, the dynamic and much-loved force behind the Salaam Balak Trust and producer of many Mira Nair films married Matt Black, the avant garde British DJ and one half of the music duo Coldcut over the weekend in Mumbai. There was an outpouring of joy on both sides of the pond for the acclaimed couple.
“Adam and Eve; Isis and Osiris; Brangelina; they ain’t got nothing on ya. If I had to vote for a couple to be elected to the board of the Elders, the intergalactic federation which will one day replace the United Nations as we expand our Empires into space, it would be you,” was one overjoyed friend’s response to the news. We like!
Business Class chilly vibes
>> It was bound to happen: When you have two ladies, both required to go to the Capital often to fulfill important responsibilities, it’s not farfetched to think they could be on the same flight. So, when India’s two acting legends, who it is reported have no love lost between them, were on Seats 2A and 2F of a Jet Air Mumbai-Delhi flight at the beginning of the week, fellow passengers were treated to some high-class chilly vibes. “They spent the whole flight ignoring each other,” one business class passenger reported.
New Med eatery in Mumbai
>> Word is out that Kishore Bajaj, the man who has brought international big name restaurant brands to India (Hakkasan and Yautcha) is on the verge of launching his latest eatery — a Mediterranean one which will be housed next to Yautcha at the BKC.
Though he was tight-lipped about plans when we met him at Tarun Tahiliani’s couture exposition we hear food tastings are underway.